Experiencing Rowland M925 4-chassis reference amps

My pair (or should I call it my quartet?!) of the new SS Rowland M925 reference mono amps were finally delivered yesterday.... Needless to say, I am excited!

The 430W M925 monoblock amplifier is a hefty affair: The amp is formed by four chassis: two power supply chassis and two audio chassis, amounting to a total weight of 380 Lbs in the four boxes, and 320 Lbs in their birthday suits. Each chassis is double boxed, protected by heavy urethane foam inserts, and then bagged in a heavy cloth sleeve tied with a drawstring.

Each power supply box also contains an accessory carton, featuring a power cord terminated at one end with a 20A IEC connector, a heavy ombilical to carry DC current to the audio chassis, and a skinnier ombelical, which I conjecture carries control signals and may have an additional grounding line. A baggie contains 3 1-inch spherical delrin footers that can be screwed into the divets at the bottom of the SMPS chassis if if you do not use 3rd party spikes/footers. A smaller baggie contains 4 smaller delrin beads... They fit into the dimples milled into the top of each the power supply chassis, and are used to keep top and lower chassy from touching when the two are stacked.

I am using Nordost Titanium Sort Kones instead of factory-provided footers. Each power supply chassis stands on top of 3 divet-centered Kones. The whole thing sits on top of 1.5 inch thick granite slabs, which have been patiently waiting in place for the M925 amps since 2011.

The audio chassis are even heavier... They will get into place in the next few days, one way or another. Rowland recommends the stacking be a two-person job.

In order to break-in both output terminal in each unit, I will connect each amp to my Vienna Die Muzik with a form of shotgun wiring: Aural Symphonics Chrono and Cardas Golden Ref for the time being. The Aural Symphonics speaker wire connects to the single 5-way binding post of the Muzik speaker with bananas; the Cardas Golden Ref connects to the same posts with spades... I have already tested the configuration using other mono amps... Works flawlessly. Of course, I have no idea if M925s benefit from shotgun wiring... This will be part of the discovery fun!

The amps will be fed by the Criterion linestage through Aural Symphonics Chrono B2 XLR ICs.

Power cords will be Aural Symphonics Magic Gem and Ultra Cube XXV, plugged into a dedicated 20A circuit served by Furutech outlets.

According to Jeff Rowland, breaking may be excruciatingly long, because of the oversized input transformers and power supply. I suspect that the process may extend well into the summer months... I will log my periodic observations on this thread.

For sake of completion, here are the amps specs as far as I know them:

Monoblock Power Amplifier OUTPUT POWER: 430 watts @ 8 ohms/850 watts @ 4 ohms
Monoblock Power supply: 2400 W regulated DC SMPS per channel, with Active Power Factor Correction (PFC).
THD + NOISE: 0.004%, 20 Hz- 20 kHz
OVERALL GAIN: Switchable 26/32 dB
Combined AMPLIFIER chassis & POWER SUPPLY chassis WEIGHT: 160.4 lb / 73 kg (per channel)
TOTAL DIMENSIONS (H/W/D): 16.5" x 15.5" x 16.25" (per channel) 419mm x 394mm x 413mm

Saluti, Guido
I did enjoy the experience immensely French_Fries.... It was in fact remarkable that the bass was so clear, and the voicing of various instruments so distinct, in spite of the ancient vintage of the darling tuner. On the other hand, I am not implying that what I heard was close to what the system is capable of when playing back a top notch CD on the X-01 player.

I should like to point out that with amps that graced my system prior to M925, results on tuner were less satisfying.

I am not an expert in tuners at all, so I really cannot make any meaningful recommendations.
All, my apologies for the long absence from updating you on M925 progress. Today at 1,780 hours of operations per my Excel break-in tracker, progress has been steadily significant since the 600 hours mark discussed earlier in this thread. I use the term “steadily significant” on purpose, because I am not sure that the progressive refinement of this amazing amplifier has abated yet.

Reality is that, starting about the 700 hours mark, I have been tempted several times to declare the amplifier fully “broken-in”… After all, when one perceives no constriction anywhere, frequency and harmonic coverage is a linearly sculptured affair throughout the spectrum, treble intermodulation of multi-part violas and violins has vanished, your mind freely zooms in and out of musical detail, Authority as well as micro/macro dynamics have established such a “right” to exist that you do not even perceive them as isolated factors in the musical whole… And most of all, you simply get lost in the music without reservations… Well, you would thing the creature is just about ready and stabilized.

Yet, things have continued to refine until now…. Perhaps we could claim that by the 1,100-hour mark the amp is 100% broken in… I would have assigned this milestone to the 1,000 hours mark, except that at about 1050 hours I experienced the very last performance oscillation, where M925 showed a slight “warmishment” for just 4 to 6 hours, after which things have returned to normality without further flexions.

To my surprise, all audible parameters have continue to refine after this point, leaving me quite befuddled about how much immersive music the whole rig, starting from Rowland Criterion and ending with the Vienna Muzik speakers, is increasingly able to extract from my old Esoteric X-01 player. Will things continue to evolve even further? I have no idea yet... But will et you know.

if anyone were starting to wonder if my couple of months of silence meant that perhaps yours truly were having second thoughts, falling out of love, or succumbing to the pangs of obsessive second guessing, or simply getting a little case of audiophilic wandering eye (or is it wandering ear?)…

Nothing could be further from reality… Rowland M925 has firmly established itself as my absolute reference amplifier by far.

Saluti, G.
Hi G., I just wanted to pipe in here with still another vote for my Mark Levinson #53 amplifiers which have not been well regarded due to certain factors that i won't expand upon here. this is simply to say that in reading through your increasing enjoyment of the 925's, i have come to similar emotional connections to many of my cd's. Just yesterday i listened to a female vocalist album that put me in a mental state of lying in a warm bath melting away, so sweet was her voice. I couldn't have faulted some nuance or detail in that state of bliss even if i had wanted to, but when the piece was over i was disappointed that it couldn't have contained (many) more tracks.
I am just glad the audiophile BS hasn't ruined my ability to get off like i used to do back when i listened to dorm room stereos.
Hi FrenchFries, I am delighted that you are experiencing long term nirvanic persistancy... Very rare among us sufferers of Degenerative Audiophilic Chorea (DAC).

At my end, the entire lovely review loom of Aural Symphonics wires had to go back to the manufacturer... While I am pleasantly surprised about how well M925 are doing fed by simple stock power cords, I am looking for alternatives that will bring their performance to the next level... I will be scouting RMAF for likely candidates.

Hi Mr. G, the dealer never gave me any power cords with my amps (!) I know!
anyway, i obtained the best PS Audio power cord they make, along with some
very well made but inexpensive cords and (of course!) a PS audio wall outlet
(for good luck i guess...). long story short, the sound coming out of my speakers are in "balance" already. they don't "shout" at me or bite my ears off,
which is not always easy when you turn up the volume.
but the GOOD NEWS is that, even with a ton of detail being presented along with the music, the artistry comes shining through as well. I was afraid at one point i had "overdone it" with all the upgrading i have done. OR maybe some elements were still breaking in, as you have suggested. i am just really pleased it all worked out.